On Tuesday of this week our former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said on Radio 4's Today programme words to the effect that Mrs May and the Tories are more or less bound to win the election. Then on the same slot on Wednesday our present leader Tim Farron said she was "Slam dunk" (whatever hat means) for victory.
I find this astonishing in any circumstances. Whoever went into a competition saying they were bound to lose? In the present circumstances it is outrageously timid. Throughout the "Western" world politics have never been so uncertain.
In France not one but both major parties, the Socialist Party of the incumbent president and the standard alternative right wing party, the Republicans, have been eliminated from the presidential election, and the final contest is to be between the Far Right and a man representing no party at all. And although M Macron appears to have a 60/40 lead there are still fears that sufficient socialists and other on the left may abstain rather than put clothes pegs on their noses and vote to stop the Front National, who consequently believe there is still "all to play for."
And only last year world opinion had it that Mrs Clinton was a "shoe in" for the US Presidency, and that Donald Trump was an outrageous and unbalanced maverick whom everyone could see was totally unfit for any sort of public office. And now he holds the most powerful position in the world.
In 2011 the Liberals, Canada's "natural party of government" were not just beaten but reduced to third place, but returned to majority and government in 2015
And in this country in 2011, at the start of the referendum on electoral reform those in favour had a two to one majority. But we lost. And last year a victory for leaving the EU seemed so improbable that no one bothered to put in a requirement for the usual super-majority which is standard when even such as golf clubs and music societies want to change their constitutions. So now we're lumbered with Brexit.
With politics so volatile, why don't we "progressives" go all out for rejecting what must surely be the mast damaging and destructive, government n our post-war history? ( Yes, probably even more so than Mrs Thatcher's, though she started the rot).
The conditions for this to happen include:
- Labour party stalwarts stop sniping at Jeremy Corbyn, let him be himself* and get behind him;
- Liberal Democrats, Greens, nationalists and others also stop sniping and attacking each other and agree that they are prepared to work together with Labour and each other to recreate our tolerant, generous and open liberal democracy;
- Stop the Brexit nonsense altogether;
- If the party leaderships won't make electoral pacts, use co-ordinated tactical voting to return progressive pro-EU members to the new parliament.
* Here's an upbeat extract from Simon Jenkins's article in today's Guardian:
Corbyn should . . .[go] for broke. Invite a vote for moral outrage, nuclear disarmament and an end to neo-imperial wars. Attack chief executive salaries , crazy energy subsidies and vanity infrastructure projects. Promote universal incomes, prison reform and drug legislation.
Well, not all Liberal Democrats, Greens, nationalists et al would agree with all of that (though I do) but surely it's something we can work with, and better than the destructive paths on which Mrs May seems hell-bent.